State to audit California State University for sexual misconduct investigations and policies

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California State University’s system, under hot water for its handling of sexual misconduct cases, is about to be audited.

On Monday, the Joint Legislative Audit Committee approved an audit of the CSU Chancellor’s Office, San Jose State University, Sonoma State University and San Jose State University. Fresno regarding the handling of sexual harassment and abuse complaints that resulted in sloppy or inadequate investigations by high-level college administrators.

The action comes after more than 40 state legislators requested the review to examine compliance with Title IX procedures and processes following a slew of high-profile reports of improper handling of complaints. Several of these reports concerned the news agency’s investigation into former SJSU director of sports medicine and athletic trainer Scott Shaw’s alleged abuse of nearly two dozen women and the failure of the administrators of the campuses, including former President Mary Papazian, to fully investigate the allegations.

“We welcome the State Auditor’s review, will cooperate with his investigation, and continue to seek other opportunities to improve our policies and procedures,” CSU spokesperson Toni Molle said Tuesday. in an email.

The California State Auditor will conduct the investigation, which will include:

  • A determination of “the mission of the Title IX Office’s role across the CSU system” and an assessment of the “process it has in place to provide oversight and ensure consistency and timeliness of response of CSU to allegations of sexual harassment, including its compliance with federal law and use of best practices.
  • A determination of whether the university system has “adequate system-wide policies and procedures in place to prevent, detect, and address sexual harassment” and a review of “notices to students and employees on the how to report allegations, efforts to keep victims of alleged harassment informed of the status of a complaint, and policies on employees’ obligations to report alleged harassment.
  • A review of CSU’s “process for investigating allegations of sexual harassment” and a determination of “whether the process ensures the investigation process is free from interference and identifies needed improvements.”
  • An identification of the “total number of sexual harassment complaints against CSU employees over the past five years” and “whether the CSU initiated an investigation into these complaints, how well founded it was, and whether the alleged perpetrators were implicated in several complaints, and, if so, how many.

“You want to have great respect for higher public institutions and they actually do what they teach their students. They talk about protecting the truth, protecting the innocent…and the system itself has failed to do the kind of inquiry and decision-making that it literally trains students to do. I called it hypocrisy and a systematic failure,” Assemblyman Jim Patterson (R-Fresno), co-author of the request, said Tuesday.

In March, the CSU Board of Trustees announced that the university had paid a company to conduct an internal investigation into its policies and procedures related to employee sexual misconduct, but the California Faculty Association, lawmakers from the State and school communities called it inadequate. The state audit will begin after the university’s internal investigation is complete or in four months, whichever comes first.

CSU Chancellor Jolene Koester wrote in a letter last week that she is “fully aware that this work is difficult and seeks to address long-standing systemic issues as well as deeply rooted attitudes and behaviors. rooted. It will take time, diligence and perseverance, as well as continuous self-assessment and improvement.

In February, a USA Today survey revealed former chancellor Joseph Castro improperly handled a case of sexual misconduct by a senior administrator that spanned years when he was president of Fresno State University. And the Los Angeles Times recently illuminated alleged wrongdoing by two former Sonoma State University administrators. Since those reports, a slew of other cases involving high-level administrators in the CSU system have come to light.

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